New TOEFL Exam

ETS announced the first administrations of the new TOEFL.  You can read the details, by clicking through, but here are a few big ones:

  • The test will be administered via the Internet at ETS testing centers around the world.
  • Test-takers will choose from 30-40 administration dates.
  • The test includes a recorded speaking section.
  • It attempts to integrate the different communications function and really test what students at higher educational institutions need to know before coming to study in the US.

Frankly, TOEFL results in the past were notoriously unreliable as a measure of English fluency. I can’t tell you how many applicants I spoke with who had high TOEFL scores and with whom I could barely communicate. Those students were at an enormous disadvantage in their courses. Conversely, although much less frequently, I would speak with someone who had a low score and was completely fluent. I hope the ETS has fulfilled its stated mission with this test and has developed an accurate test of English readiness for post-secondary education.